Sewram was warned - The state alleges Sewram knew Soni had hired a hitman to kill him

2013-10-05 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG doctor Bhavish Sewram knew three months prior to being murdered that his businessman friend, Rajivee Soni, was planning to kill him.

This allegation was made in the high court indictment served yesterday on Soni (37), former policeman Brian Treasurer (53), alleged hired gunman Sabelo Dlamini (29) and Mfaniseni Nxumalo. The four accused will stand trial in the Pietermaritzburg high court from March 3 to March 20 for Sew­ram’s murder.

Soni faces five additional charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to commit murder.

The state alleges that when Soni suspected his wife of having an affair with the doctor in 2012, he embarked on a revenge campaign to drive him out of town and when that failed, decided to have him killed.

Soni’s “quest for vengeance” allegedly involved concocting charges of sexual assault against the doctor on two occasions, personally laying a false assault charge against Sewram and hiring two people to shoot Sewram with a high-powered paintball gun using “solid projectiles” instead of ordinary paintballs in order to seriously injure him.

On October 24, 2012, Sewram was shot several times with the paintball gun as he left his surgery at about 2.30 pm, causing multiple abrasions and bruises of his right forearm and his scalp.

When the false charges were withdrawn in court, and Soni realised that all his plans had been thwarted, he allegedly turned to murder.

This is the case that state advocate Sandesh Sankar will set out to prove when the case goes to trial.

One of the charges against Soni alleges that early in February this year, Soni offered Mlungisi Sithebe R100 000 to kill Sewram. Sithebe allegedly pretended to agree to the plan, but instead alerted Sewram to Soni’s plot to kill him.

The state alleges that Soni later approached a second hitman, Brian Treasurer, with an offer of R100 000 to kill Sewram. Treasurer allegedly accepted and arranged for Nxumalo and Dlamini to carry out the killing in return for money.

THE murder followed a series of incidents during 2012 that the state alleges were part of a campaign by Soni — helped by unnamed accomplices — to “denigrate, disparage and ultimately drive” Sewram out of Pietermaritzburg.

The indictment alleges that in one instance in February last year, Soni paid a woman to frame the doctor and lay a false sexual assault charge against him.

She did so, but the charge was withdrawn when Sewram appeared in court the next day.

Allegedly furious that his plan had been thwarted, Soni allegedly falsely reported to Mountain Rise police station on February 21, 2012, that he had been slapped by Sewram. A docket was opened, but that case too was withdrawn in July 2012.

In August last year, Soni allegedly again approached a young patient of Sewram (and her parents) in another bid to help him to frame the doctor by laying a false sexual assault charge against the doctor.

She did so, and Sewram was arrested and appeared in court.

However, the charge was withdrawn on October 30 last year.

It was then, the state alleges, that Soni arranged for the “paintball” attack on Sewram, and subsequently his murder.

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